Host Doug Storm is joined by three professors of literature at Indiana University, Jennifer Fleissner, Jonathan Elmer, and Christoph Irmscher, to examine Herman Melville’s great book, Moby Dick. Each of these readers and teachers share a favorite passage from the novel and try to say just what makes them respond with awe to this novel.
Deep calls unto deep. That is the whale song of Herman Melville who wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne in response to the enthusiasm this friend and fellow traveller showed for his novel.
A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable socialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with you and all the gods in old Rome’s Pantheon. It is a strange feeling — no hopefulness is in it, no despair. Content — that is it; and irresponsibility; but without licentious inclination. I speak now of my profoundest sense of being, not of an incidental feeling. (Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, November [17?] 1851)